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48 Hour Film Challenge: The good, the bad and the cheesy

Victoria Barber
Electric Igloo

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“Why do we get excited about this? It’s just a bunch of bad movies.”

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That was the question posed by a friend of mine as I was getting ready to go to the 48 Hour Film Challenge. And I had to pause. First, harsh: it's not all bad movies.

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Some of them, in fact, are really good. Even the less beautiful looking ones are often clever and entertaining. But, yeah, there's a few you just have to sit out (a rigorously enforced 5 minute time limit helps). 

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By nature, 48 Hour is not a showcase for our film making community’s most polished work. Even the pros in the crowd have to rush to meet a crazy short deadline. 

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But like all local film events, any technical deficiencies on screen are made up by the fun of watching a whole bunch of people -- some you know, some you'd never guess -- do ridiculous, clever, ambitious, creative, and stupid things on film. And it's cool to see the dorm rooms, suburban streets and condo driveways of Anchorage as a backdrop. If I wanted to take in a superlative act of cutting-edge cinema, I would have gone to see Gravity in 3-D. This is a way better party.

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But, having gone to the event three years in a row, I have to say the bad films are getting a lot less bad and the really really bad films are fewer. Even the cheesy horror ones have B-movie appeal. And the good ones… well, it really is impressive what people in this town can do in a weekend. The creative pool seems to be getting bigger; this is the fourth year of the Film Challenge, and it had more entries than ever before (25 teams entered, and 20 finished in time). 

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Some highlights this year included Electric Igloo's "Hit Women #69: A Snake In The Grass" -- a kind of pulpy, comic-book style film about two hot lady assassins with a job to do and a talent show to win. "Scape," directed by Scott Heverling and featuring Rachel Droege being stalked by a menacing figure, was one of the most effectively spooky and suspenseful films I've seen from a local crew.

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Action/sci-fi isn't something people can easily pull off very well at the local level, but "Level 3" benefited from some stellar casting and pretty-looking overhead camerawork (Howdice Brown III and Nicholas Bradford took the top prize for the film). 

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I tried to take some notes, but I have found that drinking Broken Tooth beers has a disastrous effect on my short-hand/attention span. Here's what I got down:

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- Kidnapping

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- The wages of drunk driving are fatal encounters with murderous property owners

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- Banjo picking will saves lives from petty thievery (or: always trust the life choices of homeless hipsters)

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- More kidnapping

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- Sexy lady assassins who can’t juggle

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- Small airplane pilots who are chauvinistic, racist jerks have it coming

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- Adults who act like children

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- Cinnamon and carrots and crack cocaine

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- I wish I could watch an episode of a show about Stephanie Wonchala and Matt Collins switching bodies every day of my life forever

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Want to watch? Check out the 48 Hour Facebook page for updates on what's been posted to Youtube. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Victoria Barber
Anchorage
Contact Victoria Barber at or on